The Privacy Dilemma: Lesson Plan for Senior Classrooms Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 9 - 12

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

This lesson was made possible with financial support from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson students consider and discuss the trade-offs we all make on a daily basis between maintaining our privacy, and gaining access to information services. The lesson begins with a series of guided questions to help students assess their own perceptions of privacy and determine their comfort levels with giving out personal information. This is followed by a series of exercises and case studies that encourage them to delve deeper into privacy issues. As a summative activity, students produce short video essays that reflect those privacy issues they consider to be important.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • learn about the risks of giving out personal information online
  • consider and debate the importance of privacy relative to other concerns, such as security and access to online services
  • understand the possible consequences of posting photos, personal information and messages
  • become aware of the distinction between privacy and security
  • form and express opinions
  • create a media product

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit